A major project of up to £1.2 million aims to link up two treasured visitor attractions to create a wide expanse for people to explore and enjoy.
The Woodland Trust and National Trust plan to open up borders on the land connecting the eastern part of Belton House – one of the Midlands’ most visited attractions – and the more recently created Londonthorpe Woods.
The area once formed part of the 17th Century Brownlow Estate but over time this historic landscape has become fragmented.
The project will create unprecedented access between the sites, allowing people to seamlessly explore a combined area of 225 hectares of woods and parkland so that people can discover both its secret history and environmental treasures.
Thanks to players of the National Lottery, the project has already received a funding boost of £64,700 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). This development funding has been awarded to help the Woodland Trust progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £428,800 at a later date.*
Ian Froggatt, Londonthorpe Site Manager, said: “We’re thrilled to get this initial piece of financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players which we hope will lead to a much larger grant to deliver the project.
“The project will allow visitors to not only enjoy the attraction of Belton House but also explore much of the wider Brownlow estate, including what is now Londonthorpe Woods.
“With a winning combination of history and nature, it has the potential to be the green lungs of Lincolnshire enabling visitors to enjoy and experience a wealth of health and social benefits”.
The National Lottery grant will allow the project to work towards creating a warm welcome with engaging information which will enable everyone to learn more about these two special places.
A programme of events and activities will be organised to actively involve the local community and visitors from further afield.
Conservation will also be at the heart of the project, it will work to restore and enhance key wildlife habitats, helping to ensure their protection long into the future.
It will also seek to protect and enhance built heritage and parkland features, ensuring the continuation of the Brownlow legacy who had first acquired land in the area in the late 16th century and created Belton house as their family seat.
An extensive consultation programme will kick off in summer 2018, and the charities are looking for as many people as possible to get involved with this. Work on the ground is due to commence from summer 2020.